Wise Advices from Ulama to Achieve a Blessed Life

No one knows the journey of human life, every human being has their own path which has been determined by the Khaliq. What will happen tomorrow or the day after, everything is still a mystery.  Only effort, endeavor, sincerity in worship, good deeds and wisdom as well as prayer and trust can be done.

While in the womb, when the soul is breathed in, that is when four decrees are outlined for humans, including sustenance, death, charity and whether they fall into the category of wretched or happy people (mentioned in the work of Imam Nawawi, Riyadhus Shalihin, in the Fear of Allah chapter).  In a fairly long hadith, Rasulullah Saw.  said:

عن ابن مسعود – رضي الله عنه – قَالَ: حدثنا رَسُول الله – صلى الله عليه وسلم – وَهُوَ الصادق المصدوق: إنَّ أحَدَكُمْ يُجْمَعُ خَلْقُهُ في بَطْنِ أُمِّهِ أربَعِينَ يَومًا نُطْفَةً، ثُمَّ يَكُونُ عَلَقَةً مِثْلَ ذلِكَ، ثُمَّ يَكُونُ مُضْغَةً مِثْلَ ذلِكَ، ثُمَّ يُرْسَلُ المَلَكُ، فَيَنْفُخُ فِيهِ الرُّوحَ، وَيُؤْمَرُ بِأرْبَعِ كَلِمَاتٍ: بِكَتْبِ رِزْقِهِ وَأجَلِهِ وَعَمَلِهِ وَشَقِيٌّ أَوْ سَعِيدٌ. فَوَالَّذِي لاَ إلهَ غَيْرُهُ إنَّ أحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أهْلِ الجَنَّةِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وبيْنَهَا إلاَّ ذِرَاعٌ فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيهِ الكِتَابُ، فَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أهْلِ النَّارِ فَيدْخُلُهَا، وَإنَّ أَحَدَكُمْ لَيَعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أهْلِ النَّارِ حَتَّى مَا يَكُونُ بَيْنَهُ وَبَيْنَهَا إلاَّ ذراعٌ، فَيَسْبِقُ عَلَيهِ الكِتَابُ فَيعْمَلُ بِعَمَلِ أهْلِ الجَنَّةِ فَيَدْخُلُهَا.  ]مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.[

From Ibn Mas’ud, he said: “Rasulullah Saw. which is always true and trustworthy, told us that every human being collects his creation in the mother’s belly for forty days in the form of semen, then in the form of blood clots for forty days, then in the form of flesh for forty days, then an angel is sent  and breathed the spirit into it and was also ordered to write down four sentences, namely recording about fortune, death, deeds and about woe or happiness.  By the One who has no God but Him, indeed one of you does deeds with the deeds of the inhabitants of heaven, so that the distance between him and heaven is very close, but because he has been recorded as an inhabitant of hell, suddenly he does the deeds of the inhabitants of hell, until finally  he went to hell.  And one of you all does good deeds with the deeds of the inhabitants of hell, so that the distance between him and hell is very close, but because he has been recorded as a resident of heaven, suddenly he carries out the deeds of the inhabitants of heaven until he finally enters heaven.”  [Muttafaq ‘alaih]

From that moment on, the process of life begins, several months in the womb, then birth, growing into children, teenagers, then starting a family, growing older and finally waiting for death to come. All within the provisions that have been determined by Allah Swt. When humans are born into the world, they are given different durations of time, according to the will of Allah Swt. In the journey of human life there are quite crucial phases. This phase occurs when humans reach the age of 40 years. Phase of maturity intellectually, emotionally, physically or otherwise. However, it is not uncommon for people to just pass through it, without meaning and without a plan.

The age of 40 years in Islamic teachings is very special.  Allah Swt.  states in the Qur’an that 40 years of age is the ideal age at which humans reach the peak of their lives both physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.  40 years of age is the peak of a person’s maturity, wisdom and maturity in making their way through life in the world.

The age of 40 years in Islamic history has its own meaning and position. If we read the sirah Nabawiyah, we will remember that at the age of 40 the Prophet Muhammad Saw. was sent by Allah Swt. become an apostle, carry a mission or prophetic message. It is explained in several tafsir books that the prophets and apostles of Allah Swt. The majority were appointed by Allah to become apostles at the age of 40.  According to Imam Asy-Syaukani, in his work Tafsir Fathul Qodir, volume 10 (translation) explains that the commentators said, “Allah never sent a prophet unless he was forty years old.”

Regarding the virtues of being 40 years old, Allah Swt. has said in the Qur’an, surah al-Ahqaf verse 15.

وَوَصَّيْنَا ٱلْإِنسَٰنَ بِوَٰلِدَيْهِ إِحْسَٰنًا ۖ حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُۥ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا ۖ وَحَمْلُهُۥ وَفِصَٰلُهُۥ ثَلَٰثُونَ شَهْرًا ۚ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُۥ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِىٓ أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ ٱلَّتِىٓ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَىَّ وَعَلَىٰ وَٰلِدَىَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَٰلِحًا تَرْضَىٰهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِى فِى ذُرِّيَّتِىٓ ۖ إِنِّى تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّى مِنَ ٱلْمُسْلِمِينَ

“We command humans to do good to their parents. His mother had conceived him with difficulty, and gave birth to him with difficulty (also). The period of pregnancy until weaning is thirty months, so that when he (the child) has grown up and reached the age of forty years he prays: “O my Lord, guide me to be grateful for Your blessings which You have given me and to my parents and so that I can do good deeds that You approve of; grant me kindness by (giving kindness to) my children and grandchildren. Verily I repent to You and verily I am one of those who surrender.”  [Q.S al-Ahqaf : 15]

In the work of Prof. Dr. Wahbah az-Zuhaili, Tafsir alMunir, volume 13 (translation), regarding surah al-Ahqaf verse 15 above, he explains that when humans are forty years old.  At that time is the peak age of maturity, a phase where physical, intellectual, understanding and wisdom have reached the limit of perfection.

How important is the phase experienced by every human being when they reach the age of 40, Imam al-Ghazali in his work Ayyuhal Walad (translation) states that:

“The sign that Allah Ta’ala turns away from a servant is that he occupies himself with something that is not useful for him. Indeed, a person whose life has passed for a moment, which he used for something other than the purpose for which he was created (worship), deserves to be regretted forever. Whoever has  beyond the age of forty years but his goodness cannot outweigh his badness, he should prepare to go to hell.”

Furthermore, in line with Imam al Ghazali’s explanation, according to Imam Nawawi in his work the book Riyadhus Shalihin which is told in a special chapter [recommendations for increasing good deeds in old age] according to the opinion of Hasan Basri al-Qalbi Masruq also quoted from Ibn Abbas, they said that  : “In the past, the people of Medina, when one of them reached the age of 40, he devoted himself to worship.”

Based on this reality, the age of 40 years has its own priority and meaning in the journey of human life until death arrives. The age of 40 years is an alarm for every human being that guests (the angel of death) will soon arrive. The age of 40 years is an alarm for us to get closer to Allah Swt. by improving the quality of worship, in order to hope for the blessing of Allah Swt. as a preparation for the real life. Because after all the life of this world, as described by Allah Swt.  just “games and joking”. The afterlife is truly life. This is stated in several verses of the Qur’an, one of which is contained in Surah al-Ankabut verse 64, which means:

“And there is no life in this world but joking and playing around. And indeed the afterlife is the real life, if they only knew.”

It would truly be a loss for all of us, if in this short worldly life we ​​are not filled with good deeds. Because as you get older, without realizing it, your physical condition will decrease.  Gray hair begins to grow, vision, hearing, memory and ability to think decrease.

Therefore, when we reach the age of 40 or are already 40 years old, the teachings of the Islamic religion have given guidance to all of us to fill it with something that can bring us closer to the Khaliq.  Here are some things we can do:

First, increase prayer as stated in Surah al-Ahqaf verse 15;

Second, always be grateful for all the pleasures that God has bestowed upon us, both physical and spiritual pleasures;

Third, remind ourselves and our children that every human being will experience the same stages, starting in the womb, birth, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, family and entering old age.  Realizing this, our love and devotion to our parents must increase and we must not forget to always send prayers and do good to both of them;

Fourth, multiply good deeds and benevolence by always hoping for Allah’s blessing;

Fifth, spending time with family amidst the busy lives we experience and the roles we play, by always providing an example and positive energy to them;

Sixth, immediately repent and make more forgiveness for all the mistakes and mistakes you have made;

Seventh, increase your association with pious people.  People who always emit or transmit positive energy and values, so that they are able to raise awareness in us to always try to improve our quality;

Eighth, surrender to Allah Swt. by continuing to strive to improve the quality of ubudiyah and being devoted to Him.

That’s how important it is for every human being to reach the age of 40. It should be prepared as well as possible so that it has the value of worship so that life has meaning and is not in vain. And real life is whatever is intended, prioritized and strived for to gain the pleasure of Allah Swt.

Wallahu a’lam bishawab.